Tag Archives: compost with worms

Winter Composting: Should I Just Scrap It? (article)

By Ginny Figlar Colon, originally found here.

Nice … half-frozen veggie scraps molded together in a solid mass. Not exactly what I want to see in my compost bin. With at least five more months of cold weather before warmth and sunshine reappear, why do I even bother keeping the pile going?

Well, I guess I do know why. Diverting even a handful of potato skins from the trash gives me an unexplainable sense of satisfaction. (If you aren’t yet a composter, you just can’t relate to this strange obsession with vegetable scraps.)

So after filling my compost bin with a big batch of freshly raked leaves this weekend, I did a little online research to see what I could do to make it a wee bit more productive this winter.

Here’s my plan of attack:

1. Get a bigger under-the-sink kitchen compost bucket. Fewer trips through the snow will help me stay motivated to feed the outdoor bin all winter long.

2. Empty the compost bin now. Since decomposition slows considerably in the winter, the contents won’t shrink very fast and the bin can get overfilled in the process.

3. Save some leaves. I’m going to stockpile some of the leaves I’m raking now to periodically mix in with winter scraps. Some sites suggest using old tomato cages or covered garbage cans to hold the leaves.

4. Don’t turn the pile. Yep, it pays to be lazy all winter because turning a pile lets valuable heat out.

5. Break down the bits a bit more. Maybe I can get away with chucking a whole apple in the bin in the middle of the summer, but not when the thermometer is hitting negative numbers.

We’ll see if these extra steps make a difference come springtime. And, even if it doesn’t result in more compost, at least it saved some space at the landfill.

Want to learn more about composting? Check out our Gaiam Life Guide to Composting or watch sustainable living videos on GaiamTV.com!
I definitely recommend following everything on this list…and if you’d like to take it a step further, bring your work indoors to a worm composting system.  Chances are you’ll save space in your freezer, and you’ll create compost through the winter…although I don’t know what you’d do with it. 🙂

How-To Compost with Worms and Solve Common Problems

How-To Compost with Worms and Solve Common Problems

While this video might miss on a few good points, I absolutely love the kid answering all her mom’s questions about what to do next with the worm bin… super cool… but what’s up with the lack of air holes in the bin?

Worm Composting Feeding Tips (video)

Worm Composting Feeding Tips

I just found this web channel called Big Tex Worms, and she has some great videos to check out on the topic of vermicomposting.  You’ll see that my website gets really worm-centric in the colder months as the outdoor methods slow down to a crawl here in the northeast.

This video shows some pretty standard methods for preparing worm feed, but when it gets to Step 4, I was definitely surprised.  I’ve never seen anyone make worm food into balls first, and I wonder what the point is.  I guess they’re handy and represent a fixed amount of material for your worms to digest.

If they don’t start eating it within a few days, that means they might not like it and it’s acidic…so I guess it’s a good way to evaluate if your food source is appropriate for them.

What do you think of the tips?  It’s pretty simple- if you grind your materials up first and don’t overfeed the worms, you’ll be in good shape.

EZ How to Make a FREE Worm Factory (video)

EZ How To Make a FREE Worm Factory

This dude has the right idea!  While I doubt this works as well as an actual Worm Factory (short, stacking trays), it’s still a great start to see what you think of vermicomposting.

This is more or less the same process as building your own worm bin from a Rubbermaid tub.  If you use 2 tubs (the bottom tub is for collecting leachate), it will basically function in the same manner as this.

In my experience, worms do better in a shallow environment, so a short Rubbermaid tub would most likely outperform a bucket… however, whichever you can get your hands on is the best for you.  Go to any grocery store and ask for some food grade plastic buckets (food grade means the plastic doesn’t leach into the contents…or so they say)…they toss these out all the time so you’ll be doing them a favor.  Further, get some extra ones just because!  Buckets are awesome.  And so is DIY vermicomposting!

Worm Factory 360 review (video)

Worm Factory Review – Is it worth it?

When my friend told me he had a Worm Factory in his basement, I had to check it out.  Although I use a Worm Inn system, I definitely like how this system works, too.  Check the video for my on-the-spot observations!

When it comes to vermicomposting, I’m a big fan although it requires some attention to ensure the worms are happy.  I’ve made my own worm bins in the past, and then decided to focus my attention on the Worm Inn system: better airflow, easier harvesting of castings.

I kinda forgot about the Worm Factory 360.  It’s been on the market for a while now, but I never paid attention to it since I started with making my own bin anyway.

I was hanging out at my friend Brian’s house, and he wanted me to take a look at his worm system in the basement.  I had noticed a few flies in his house before he led me downstairs, and I figured they were from his Worm Factory…I was right.

I took a look around on some forums, and that seems to be a common issue with this thing- and now I see why.  Here’s a picture of his system:

Upon opening it up, right away I noticed that all the trays were not only full of castings, but they were full of friggin awesome castings.

I was impressed.  The castings were really moist, and that’s the thing with plastic…it doesn’t breathe well, if at all.  There are little gaps around the edges of the trays, maybe this is intentional to get some necessary airflow in there.

There were a lot of critters inside, indicating the system was alive and… well?  Maybe slightly out of balance- it was lacking cardboard.  Worms love cardboard, and I’m not sure if that’s scientifically been proven yet, but they like crawling in the corrugated tubes and I’ve read that the glue is tasty to them (can anyone confirm this?).

Besides taming the flies, the spigot seems to be the other design challenge.  Looking at the bottom tray, it was holding a significant amount of leachate because the castings were clogging up the spigot.  Makes sense.

What I didn’t expect was that although the bottom trays were all processed into castings, they still contained plenty of worms.  The worms seemed to go where they pleased (which is great and I’m happy for them), but I figured they’d all be in the top tray focused on eating the food.

How would I rate this thing?  Well, I only hung out with it (them) for about 10 minutes…but based on that, it exceeded my expectations.  I think they have the potential to be a really solid system with next to no issues, but you have to work a little bit for it.  Keep the dry materials coming into this thing and I think the castings/spigot/flies issues should become minimized.

If you’d like to learn more about one of these, I suggest clicking here to go to the company page on Amazon.  Plus, it’s always fun to read Amazon reviews, isn’t it?

Worm Factory 360 Review

When it comes to vermicomposting, I’m a big fan although it requires some attention to ensure the worms are happy.  I’ve made my own worm bins in the past, and then decided to focus my attention on the Worm Inn system: better airflow, easier harvesting of castings.

I kinda forgot about the Worm Factory 360.  It’s been on the market for a while now, but I never paid attention to it since I started with making my own bin anyway.

I was hanging out at my friend Brian’s house, and he wanted me to take a look at his worm system in the basement.  I had noticed a few flies in his house before he led me downstairs, and I figured they were from his Worm Factory…I was right.

I took a look around on some forums, and that seems to be a common issue with this thing- and now I see why.  Here’s a picture of his system:

Upon opening it up, right away I noticed that all the trays were not only full of castings, but they were full of friggin awesome castings.

I was impressed.  The castings were really moist, and that’s the thing with plastic…it doesn’t breathe well, if at all.  There are little gaps around the edges of the trays, maybe this is intentional to get some necessary airflow in there.

There were a lot of critters inside, indicating the system was alive and… well?  Maybe slightly out of balance- it was lacking cardboard.  Worms love cardboard, and I’m not sure if that’s scientifically been proven yet, but they like crawling in the corrugated tubes and I’ve read that the glue is tasty to them (can anyone confirm this?).

Besides taming the flies, the spigot seems to be the other design challenge.  Looking at the bottom tray, it was holding a significant amount of leachate because the castings were clogging up the spigot.  Makes sense.

What I didn’t expect was that although the bottom trays were all processed into castings, they still contained plenty of worms.  The worms seemed to go where they pleased (which is great and I’m happy for them), but I figured they’d all be in the top tray focused on eating the food.

How would I rate this thing?  Well, I only hung out with it (them) for about 10 minutes…but based on that, it exceeded my expectations.  I think they have the potential to be a really solid system with next to no issues, but you have to work a little bit for it.  Keep the dry materials coming into this thing and I think the castings/spigot/flies issues should become minimized.

If you’d like to learn more about one of these, I suggest clicking here to go to the company page on Amazon.  Plus, it’s always fun to read Amazon reviews, isn’t it?